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ticism on the distinction which our author has made of the Troubadours and Trouveres, or on the origin of the fabliaux, the romances of chivalry, and the first dramatic representations. Our reflexions will find a better place when we come to analyse that part of the work in wbich he treats of all these subjects, But we think it necessary to remark here, that the authors whom M. Sismondi has consulted upon the general plan of the literature of all nations are; Andres dell' origine progressi e stato attuale d'ogni Letteratura. 5 vols. 4to. We beg pardon of M. Sismondi, it is in a vol. 4to. and Friedrich Boutterweck, geschichte der Shönen Wissenschaften, 8 vols. 8vo. This last gentleman has till now only published the History of the Literature of Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and England. He appears to have been the favorite author with M. Sismondi, and we are sorry for it. Boutterweck is certainly an author of great merit, but he is often visionary, and occasionally he judges the writers of other nations according to the prejudices of his own. Andres, on the contrary, is exempt from this fault, and would have been by far a better and a more sure guide. But M. Sismondi does not think so, and here are his reasons.

« Il esquisse l'histoire de toutes les sciences humaines dans toutes les langues, et dans tout l'univers ; et avec une vaste érudi. tion, il développe d'une manière philosophique la marche générale de l'esprit humain ; mais comme il ne donne jamais d'exemple, &c. &c. il ne met jamais son lecteur à portée de juger par lui-même." P. 12, in the note. So here lies the truth of the matter.

He does never give any example ; he takes for granted that his reader is acquainted at least with the classical productions of the different languages; and a man who has read very few of these productions cannot be satisfied with Andres's judgment, however philosophical they may be. To this man Boutterweck is by far a more serviceable writer ; he gives examples, he quotes long passages, and by this merit alone all his faults and all his prejudices are overlooked by the facility which he gives of speaking of books which have never been read.

Besides these two general works M. Sismondi has consulted for the different branches of his research, Millot Histoire Litté. raire des Troubadours—for the Provençal literature, Tiraboschi, and Ginguené for the Italian-Velasquez and Barbosa for the Spanish and Portuguese; and Schlegel for the drama of all these nations.

We are sorry that M. Sismondi has chosen such a guide as Millot upon one of the most important branches of inodery literature, the history of the Troubadours. Millot at the best is but a dangerous guide even to those who are well acquainted with the subject; and to M. Sismondi he is more than dan gerous. It is true that Millot gives examples, and quotes whole poems, but unfortunately he quotes them as exemplifications to theories which have existed only in his imagination. We should have imagined that the Abbé Massieu, Fontenelle, and la Harpe would have been more sure and preferable guides. And, indeed, even without speaking of the history of French poetry, and of the French theatre, of the beautiful fragment of the Florieu, and the celebrated Lycée, the very Lives of the Provençal Poets by Nostradamus, notwithstanding the just and severe criticism which has been passed on them, are in our opinion, more to be depended on than the Literary History of the Troubadours by the Abbé Millot. It appears, however, that neither Fontenelle, Massieu, nor la Harpe are much known to our author. Their names and their works have been completely left out at the beginning of the third chapter, where he enumerates all the writers who have treated of the Provençal literature. And though Crescimbeni should be regarded as the second in rank next to M. La Curne de Sainte Palaye, yet by a partiality which cannot easily be accounted for, even this secretary of the Arcadia has been deemed inferior to the Abbé Millot, and l'Histoire Littéraire des Troubadours has been preferred to la Storia della Poesia Italiana.

As an introduction to the literature of modern Europe, M. Sisinondi very properly has thought it necessary to give an idea of the immense progress which the Arabs made in all branches of knowledge; he justities our gratitude by the obligation we owe to them. In every sense of the word the Saracens have been our masters, their superiority in scientific knowledge influ. enced both the literature and sciences of other nations, they were learned and civilized when all the rest of Europe was barbarous and ignorant; and the literature of the Arabs for a long time has constituted the genius of our own.

But too attentive to develope the progress of the Arabians, M. Sismondi has forgotten to explain how they themselves became enlightened, and for what reason they began to lay aside the happy ignorance of their forefathers, so much inforced by the intolerant tenets of their prophet, and the precepts of their Koran. In a formeri pumber we found the same omission in another classical work on the Literary History of the middle Ages, and we endeavoured to supply the omission. To the reflexions we then made

we now refer our readers.

* British Critic, new Series, September, 1815. Art. Beriøg. ton's Literary History of the middle Ages.

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In speaking of the Arabian literature M. Sismondi borrows the beautiful sentiment of the Italian poet.

“ Che fa un solco nell'ombra, e si dilegua,” &c. And in enlarging upon some reflexions of the same tendency made by Andres on the same subject *, he thus concludes the whole.

“ Tel fut l'éclat dont brillèrent les lettres et les sciences, du neuvième au quatorzième siècle de notre ère, dans les vastes contrées qui se soumirent à l'islamisme. Les plus tristes réflexions d'attachent à cette longue énumération de noms inconnus pour ious, et qui cependant furent illustres; d'ouvrages ensevelis en manuscrit dans quelques bibliothèques poudreuses, et qui cependant influèrent puissamment pendant un temps sur la culture de l'esprit humain. Que reste-t-il de tant de gloire? Cinq ou six hommes seulement sont à portée de visiter les trésors de manuscrits arabes, renfermés à la bibliothèque de l'Escurial: quelques centaines d'hommes encore, disséminés dans toute l'Europe, se sont mis en état, par un travail opiniâtre, de fouiller dans les mines de l'Orient; mais ceux-là n'obtiennent que péniblement quelques manuscrits rares et obscurs, et ils ne peuvent s'élever assez haut pour juger toute la littérature, dont ils n'atteignent jamais qu'une partie. Cependant les vastes régions où dominait et où domine encore l'islamisme, sont mortes pour toutes les sciences. Ces' riches

campagnes de Fez et de Maroc, illustrées il y a cinq siècles par tant d'académies, tant d'universités, tant de bibliothèques, ne sont plus que des déserts de sable brûlant que des tyrans disputent à des tigres; tout lé riant et fertile rivage de la Mauritanie, où le commerce, les arts et l'agriculture s'étaient élevés à la plus haute prospérité, sont aujourd'hui des retraites de corsaires, qui répan. dent la terreur sur les mers, et qui se délassent de leurs travaux dans de honteuses débauches, jusqu'à ce que la peste vienne chaque année marquer parmi eux des victimes, et venger l'humanité offensée. L'Egypte est peu à peu engloutie par les sables qu'elle fertilisait autrefois; la Syrie, la Palestine sont désolées par des Bédouins errans moins redoutables encore que le pacha qui les opprime. Bagdad, autrefois le séjour du luxe, de la puissance et du savoir, est ruiné ; les universités si célèbres de Cufa et de Bassora sont fermées ; celles de Samarcande et de Balkh sont égale, ment détruites. Dans cette immense étendue de pays, deux ou trois fois plus grande que notre Europe, on ne trouve plus qu'ignorance, qu'esclavage, que terreur et que mort. Peu d'hommes sont en état de lire quelques-uns des écrits de leurs illustres ancêtres; peu d'hommes pourraient les comprendre; aucun n'est & portée de se les procurer. Cette immense richésse littéraire des

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• Andres dell' Origine, Progressi di ogni Letteratura. Parma, 1782. 7 vols. 4to. tomo 1. cap. 1. p. 19, 20.

Arabes

Arabes que nous n'avons fait qu'entre-voir, n'existe plus dans aucun des pays où les Arabes et les Musulmans dominent. Ce n'est plus là qu'il faut chercher ni la renommée de leurs grands hommes, ni leurs écrits. Ce qui s'en est sauvé est tout entier entre les mains de leurs ennemis, dans les couvens des moines, et les bibliothèques des rois de l'Europe. Et cependant ces vastes contrées n'ont point été conquises ; ce n'est point l'étranger qui les a dépouillées de leurs richesses, qui a anéanti leur population, qui á détruit leurs lois, leurs meurs, et leur esprit national. Lé poison était au-dedans d'elles, il s'est développé par lui-même, et il a tout anéanti.

“ Qui sait si, dans quelques siècles, cette même Europe, où le règne des lettres et des sciences est aujourd'hui transporté, qui brille d'un si grand éclat, qui juge si bien les temps passés, qui compare si bien le règne successif des littératures et des meurs antiques, ne sera pas déserte et sauvage comme les collines de la Mauritanie, les sables de l'Egypte, et les vallées de l'Anatolie? Qui sait si, dans un pays entièrement neuf, peut-être dans les hautes contrées d'où découle l'Orénoque et le fleuve des Amazones, peutêtre dans cette enceinte jusqu'à ce jour impénétrable des montagnes de la Nouvelle-Hollande, il ne se formera pas des peuples avec d'autres meurs, d'autres langues, d'autres pensées, d'autres religions, des peuples qui renouvelleront encore une fois la race humaine, qui étudieront comme nous les temps passés, et qui, voyant avec étonnement que nous avons existé, que nous avons su ce qu'ils sauront, que nous avons cru comme eux à la durée et à la gloire, plaindront nos impuissans efforts, et rappelleront les noms des Newton, des Racine, des Tasse, comme exemples de cette vaine lutte de l'homme pour atteindre une immortalité de renommée que la destinée lui refuse." Tom. I. P. 74.

After this short but comprehensive view of the Saracenić learning, our author has given us a very minute detail of the literature of the Provençals; and, in the whole we may apply to him the axiom of la Rochefoucauld, il est gauche à force d'esprit. Two reasons may be assigned for this gaucherie. One which, though it may be more properly considered as belonging to the Abbé Millot, does nevertheless affect M. Sismondi, inasmuch as it betrays his want of taste not only for choosing such writer for his guide, but also for choosing out of him the details which he has thought, prudent to impart to his readers. The second reason, which is exclusively our author's own, is his haying laboured to develope, and to force upon the literature of all modern Europe a theory, with the foundations of which he is entirely unacquainted.

It is true, that the Arabs were the masters of the Troubadours, it is also true, that the Arabic language is as perfect as both the Latin and Greek in regard to the certainty of marking she quantity of the syllables, but it is not quite so clear whether

the

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the verse of the Troubadours of all other nations of modern Europe be precisely what our author has imagined. The Latins and the Greeks might in the several species of their poetry attend to the quantity of the syllables, and form the different feet which constitute their verses. Upon the authority of Sir William Jones we may say the same of the Arabians, but the modern nations of Europe have been obliged on account of the imperfection of their languages to depart from this rule which had been adopted by the ancients. In our verse we all attend to accent more than to quantity; and our rules are very plain and very short. Our heroic verse is always perfect and harmonious whether the accent falls on the even or on the odd syllables, provided the tenth be always accented, and we very much doubt, whether in modern Europe one poet out of fifty ever thinks of an iambick or a trochee in the composition of his verses, and much more whether the Troubadours ever kuew any thing of the matter.

The truth is, - the whole theory which M. Sismondi has thought proper to lay down on the formation of modern verses, sounds very much like the rules of the Scholiasts. For many centuries they have disgraced our schools, they puzzled the mind of the student for no earthly purpose, they retarded the propagation of truth, and are now the best specific for lulling a man to sleep. Seriously; what does M. Sismondi mean in his long note of five pages to the 110th page of his first volume? Does he not see that in scanning modern verses in the manner he proposes, he makes them consist, sometimes of five feet, sometimes of five feet and a cesura, and sometimes even of six feet? We will not iusult our readers by applying M. Sismondi's rules to the formation of our English verses. The absurdity of his theory is too evident, in our language, to require confutation. We shall therefore illustrate our assertion by the instance he gives in Italian poetry, of four verses taken out of Ariosto.

« Les mêmes règles," says he, "s'appliquent, sans exception, à toutes les autres langues modernes, (that is, of scanning the heroic verse by iambics and trochees,] et les vers Italiens, par exemple, doivent être scandés, d'après le principe inventé par les Provençaux, ainsi :

& Miséro chỉ mal 8 prãn'>db sĩ còn fida
Ch” ognõr' stăr dē'b-biă il māl'efi'cio occūl'to,
Chě quando ogn' al'tro tăc'-cța intorno gridă
L'āriă e' lă tēr'ră stēs'-să in ch" 'è sěpūl'to.” Ariosto.

Tom. I. P. 111. note.
In this specimen, independent of the elisions which are
ad libitum, we have the first verse uf five feet, the second

of

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